Week 9 of Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week by Week: Week 9

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

The first two months of pregnancy are behind you. At 9 weeks pregnant, morning sickness is peaking, and you may be dealing with mood swings, heartburn, and other pregnancy symptoms. Meanwhile, your baby is growing, looking more human, and even moving around.

9 Weeks Pregnant Is How Many Months? 2 months and 1 week

Which Trimester? First trimester

How Many Weeks to Go? 31 weeks

Your Baby's Development at 9 Weeks

At 9 weeks, a baby is approximately 1 inch long (2.5 to 3 centimeters). That's about the size of an average cherry.

The baby is growing quickly and taking on a much more human-like appearance every day. The physical features, organs, and body systems continue to develop.

Appearance

Baby's body continues to straighten out while the embryonic tail disappears. Their paddle-like hands and feet are starting to transform as little fingers and toes are becoming more visible. Baby also has ear lobes and the very tip of their nose can be seen in profile. Baby's eyelids continue to form and cover more of the eyes.

Body Systems

Baby's heart and the arterial system continues to develop while the bones of the ribs and sternum are taking shape. Baby's pancreas, liver, and bile ducts are also forming at this stage.

Movement

The baby is moving around, bending, and wiggling. These movements are visible on ultrasound, but you can't feel them just yet.

Explore a few of your baby’s week 9 milestones in this interactive experience.

Your Common Symptoms This Week

As for you, morning sickness typically peaks this week. Other symptoms, such as fatigue and frequent urination, may continue. You might also be dealing with heartburn, itchy breasts, and the emotional ups-and-downs of pregnancy.

Emotions

Your emotions have likely taken you on a roller-coaster ride these past few weeks. You’re not alone. Generally speaking, mood swings hit the hardest between week 6 and week 10, returning during the third trimester as you mentally and physically prepare for birth.

Mood changes are expected and are spurred, in part, by estrogen and progesterone fluctuations. These hormonal changes can affect the level of mood-regulating brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. But there’s more at play here than just hormones. The physical, social, and emotional stressors of pregnancy can all contribute to your up-and-down mood.

Heartburn

When it comes to heartburn during pregnancy, you can blame those hormones again—specifically progesterone. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscle in your body and slows down digestion so you can absorb more nutrients from the food you eat.

But, there's a sphincter at the top of the stomach made of smooth muscle. It keeps food and stomach acid down. As it relaxes, it's easier for food and acid to go back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn or indigestion.

Itchy Breasts

Sore breasts are mentioned in week 8. In addition to soreness, changing hormones, plus the growing and stretching of the skin on your breasts, can lead to itchiness. Itchy skin is more common in the second and third trimester, but it can start as early as the first trimester. Applying a moisturizing body oil or lotion can help ease the discomfort.

Self-Care Tips

It may be a more emotional week with some changing moods as you go from excited to worried or happy to nervous when you think about your baby, your symptoms, or even parenthood. Take time to care for your mental health and try to find some relief from those uncomfortable symptoms.

Caring for Your Mental Health

Just knowing that the ups-and-downs are a normal and expected part of pregnancy can help you feel better. But since fatigue, low blood sugar, and stress can contribute to mood changes, there are a few things you can do to help your mood:

  • Try to get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals throughout the day with more protein and less sugar.
  • Get a little exercise.
  • Spend quality time with your partner, family, and friends.
  • Try meditation.

Breast Relief

If you have sore, itchy breasts, talk to your doctor about treatment options. You can also avoid hot baths and showers, soaps that dry out your skin, and detergents or clothing that are irritating. Instead, take cool showers and apply moisturizer.

What Experts Say

“Ice packs and cool baths work to reduce inflammation and numb the pain. I also recommend lotions with both menthol and camphor. Both have been shown to cool and relieve itch while moisturizing.”

—Robin Evans, MD

Dealing With Heartburn

Heartburn is uncomfortable. If you're suffering from heartburn, try:

  • Eating smaller meals, but eating more often.
  • Eating slowly and chewing your food well.
  • Avoiding lying down or go to bed right after a meal.
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Trying alternative treatments such as acupuncture.

If you cannot find relief, talk to your doctor about other treatment options, including medications that are safe during pregnancy.

Write Everything Down

A pregnancy planner, organizer, or journal can be so helpful. It's a great place to write your thoughts and feelings and document your symptoms and body changes. As you think of questions for your doctor, you can write them down, so you don't forget them. Then, bring your planner along to prenatal appointments.

You can record what happens at each visit and write down the answers to all your questions. After your baby arrives, it will be a wonderful keepsake to look back on all the big milestones as well as the little memories about your pregnancy.

Your Week 9 Checklist

Advice for Partners

After the first prenatal visit, if your pregnant partner is experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy, she is likely to get the official word that sex during pregnancy is OK. In fact, you can have sex throughout the entire 40 weeks—if you're both feeling up to it.

What Experts Say

“A lot of partners worry that having sex during pregnancy will hurt the baby. It won’t. The cervix, which is the opening to the uterus, is at the end of the vagina and is at least two inches long. This acts as a barrier that keeps anything in the vagina safely away from the baby.”

—Allison Hill, MD, OB/GYN

Sex during pregnancy won't hurt the baby. Your baby is protected by amniotic fluid, mom’s abdomen, and the mucus plug, which seals the cervix. As long as your partner does not have unexpected vaginal bleeding, a history of preterm labor or cervical insufficiency, or a concerning complication, sex during pregnancy is generally considered safe.

Of course, safety isn't the only thing to consider. Your partner may be dealing with a slew of uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Fatigue, breast tenderness, and nausea are just a few issues that might leave your partner feeling not quite in-the-mood. Be patient and continue to show affection in other ways. Many symptoms subside in the second trimester.

What Experts Say

"The key here is to communicate how you’re feeling to your partner. Work together to find other ways to connect and feel close, physically and emotionally.”

—Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD

At Your Doctor’s Office

If your very first prenatal visit is this week, refer back to week 6 or week 8 to learn what to expect when it comes to tests, visit length, and more.

Upcoming Doctor's Visits

If you and your partner decide on prenatal testing or screening, it will be scheduled between week 10 and week 13. These tests may include:

Screening tests are generally offered to all women under age 35, while diagnostic tests are offered to women over age 35, those who are at risk of genetic disorders, and those who have a screening test showing a greater chance of an issue.

Special Considerations

It's reasonable to expect some mood swings, changing emotions, and irritability during pregnancy. However, it's important to know when your symptoms are going beyond what's expected. Sometimes it's difficult to tell on your own, so regularly talk to your partner and your doctor about how you feel.

When to Seek Mental Health Help

If your mood swings last more than two weeks and don’t seem to be getting better or you're experiencing significant changes in your appetite or sleep, it’s crucial to seek the care of a mental health professional. This advice holds true for everyone, but it's especially true for those who have a history of depression, anxiety, or any other mood disorder.

What Experts Say

“But there’s absolutely no need to wait until you meet these criteria to get help. If you’re concerned or engaging in any unhealthy coping strategies, never hesitate to reach out for mental health help."

—Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD

Around a third of the cases of postpartum depression begin during pregnancy. Getting help for prenatal depression and other mental health concerns early will not only improve your pregnancy but your baby’s well-being in utero and after birth.

You should also discuss your emotions and mood changes with your OB or midwife. Certain health concerns, such as a thyroid condition, can surface in pregnancy and lead to mood or anxiety issues.

A Word From Verywell

Now that your very first prenatal visit is likely under your belt, your new reality might be feeling that much more real. There’s probably a combination of excitement, relief, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty swirling around your household. And it’s all normal. Pregnancy is quite the life adjustment.

Next week is your baby's last week as an embryo. By the end of week 10, your little one graduates to the next stage of prenatal development.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Robin Evans, MD. Email communication. October, November 2017.

  • Shara Marrero Brofman, PsyD. Email and Phone Communications. October, December 2017.

  • Allison Hill, M.D. Email communication. October, November 2017.